Roku's earnings dwarfed by it giving users even more free content

The new "Featured Free" section on Roku's home pages will roll out to users starting today.

The new "Featured Free" section on Roku's home pages will roll out to users starting today.

Roku today announced its earnings for the second quarter of 2018. From the company's letter to shareholders:

Roku delivered particularly strong Q2 2018 financial results. Robust active account growth expanded the reach and scale of our TV streaming platform, while at the same time Roku captured a bigger share of TV advertising budgets and continued progress on monetization. Our investments are delivering a better streaming experience for consumers, bigger audiences for content owners, and more effective marketing tools for brands. We are raising our full year 2018 outlook and believe Roku is well-positioned to seize the significant opportunities being created by the transition to streaming.

The Roku Channel is now available to everyone — for free — via a website.

The Roku Channel is now available to everyone — for free — via a website.

The big news, though, is that you no longer even need a Roku device — either one of its streaming boxes or sticks, or a Roku TV — to watch free content from Roku. All you'll need is a Roku account, and to head to from a web browser to watch the free Roku Channel online, which features free news, movies and other TV shows.

Is this a ploy to get folks to sign up for a Roku account? Absolutely. And it's a good one. In addition, Roku is changing up its home screen on its devices to surface free content from The Roku Channel, ABC, Fox, The CW, Freeform, Pluto TV, and more, under the "Featured Free" umbrella.

From the announcement:

"We want to be the best destination for free streaming entertainment. We're delighted to deliver even more value to our customers without subscriptions, complicated logins or fees," said Rob Holmes, Roku's Vice President of Programming and Engagement. "By expanding The Roku Channel to the Web, we're broadening the access points to high-quality, free streaming entertainment. With Featured Free, we're making it easy for our customers to see the great, free content already available on the Roku platform in one place, while creating value for our content providers by connecting them with Roku's growing audience."

Check out The Roku Channel for free

Here's what else you need to know:

  • Roku now has some 22 million active accounts, up 46 percent year over year for the quarter.
  • That's up from 20.8 million active accounts at the end of Q1.
  • Roku has added nearly 7 million net new active accounts in the past 12 months.
  • Platform revenue was up 96 percent YoT at $90.3 million.
  • Gross profit landed at $77.8 million for the quarter — up 107 percent YoT.
  • (That's counting an expected extra $8.9 million from "potential IP licensing liabilities that have not materialized.)
  • The number of hours of TV streamed was up 57 percent YoT at 5.5 billion hours.
  • The fastest growth for those streaming hours came from Roku TVs, which doubled their streaming time YoY.
Phil Nickinson

Phil is the father of two beautiful girls and is the Dad behind Modern Dad. Before that he spent seven years at the helm of Android Central. Before that he spent a decade in a newsroom of a two-time Pulitzer Prize-finalist newspaper. Before that — well, we don't talk much about those days.